These hens were purchased, by a friend of ours, from a free range farm for £2.00 each. The ones he didn't buy were packed in crates and sent for slaughter.
Not sure if these photographs show clearly enough but these hens are frightened of the open space and are huddling round their house. You can see they are in a dreadful state.
A few years ago we "rescued" some ex battery hens and even they weren't in such a bad state as these poor things.
If an individual kept chickens in their gardens and allowed them to get in this state I would imagine the RSPCA would take them away and probably even prosecute and yet this is acceptable for commercially kept chickens.
Most of us are willing to pay a premium for free range eggs believing that the birds have a better quality of life than caged birds, unfortunately it still isn't good enough and the public are being led up the garden path with images of beautiful hens happily clucking around a field.
If anything hi-lights the need to produce our own eggs (and meat if you are so inclined) by keeping a few chickens in the garden I think these hens do.
If anyone would like to use these photographs to hi-light the plight of free range hens then please feel free to do so.